Export facilitation

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MINISTER for Planning, Ahsan Iqbal, has reiterated the resolve of the coalition government to facilitate the business community to enhance exports of the country.

Addressing an expo titled ‘Pakistan Property Housing and Construction’, organized by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Islamabad on Friday, he urged the business community to point out the bottlenecks and the government will remove them without any delay.

He pointed out that the private sector has the potential to increase growth and the government will curb red-tapism to support the private sector.

There is no doubt that the PML(N)-led Government is considered as business and industry friendly and incentives given to various sectors of the economy during the budget for the current financial year has strengthened this impression.

The determination of the Government to address problems facing the export sector is appreciable as Pakistan’s economic challenge can only be tackled if there is meaningful increase in exports as by earning more foreign exchange we can lessen our over-dependence on external loans.

However, it would be a gigantic task to move towards this cherished objective during the ongoing year as the Minister himself has predicted just two percent GDP growth for the year due to the flood situation.

It is a foregone conclusion that the country needs to promote agricultural and industrial production to have surplus for exports but the agriculture sector has badly been affected by devastating floods and it is estimated that the country will have to import food items to meet domestic requirements.

Similarly, the flood situation has also affected the industrial activity but one hopes this would be a short term phenomenon and exports can pick up if the government succeeds in formulating a prudent growth and export strategy.

What the Government must do in the immediate context is to check the rapid increase in the cost of production which is rendering our products uncompetitive in the international market despite massive depreciation of the local currency.

Experts also point out that a country’s exports should be in line with market trends and quality, and be certified on internationally acceptable standards.

Apart from lack of required investment, our exports also suffer due to higher tariff structure, erratic growth trends, low penetration in global market, lack of infrastructure and technological advancement.

The Government should focus on upgradation of infrastructure for IT and telecom and provide generous incentives to this sector as it has the potential to produce the desired results in a shorter period of time.

 

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